Worker/Owner Co-ops: A More Human Way


In our current economic system, dominated by corporations, we see a widening gap between the income and wealth in the US. Many employees feel disempowered since decisions that affect the workplace are made without consulting them even though they are in a unique position to add value to these decisions. Worker/owner co-ops are an alternative system that values those that actually do the work. James Haddow who is a worker/owner of the Arizmendi Cooperative Bakery in Oakland. James will give us a brief history of this co-op that was inspired by the Mondragon Cooperative in Spain and founded with help from The Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley. James will review the bakery's structure, strengths and weaknesses. He will focus on the human/interpersonal aspect of the bakery. The individual worker/owners of the bakery are of prime importance to each other, the collective decision making process, and the ultimate success of the bakery. Instead of a purely profit driven business model, their mission is to provide reasonably priced and healthy food for their community. They offer mix of simple, traditional pastries and breads and only one kind of vegetarian pizza a day. Food made by people who care and the co-op culture have made this neighborhood bakery a local institution.

James Haddow is a currently a Worker/Owner at Arizmendi Cooperative Bakery in Oakland. He has worked at several east bay restaurants, most recently baking wood fired bread and pizza at Boot and Shoe Service. James holds degrees in the fine arts from Arizona State University and has attended several professional courses focused on baking/patisserie. His upcoming project is a mobile pizzeria using a modified outdoor grill capable of baking a pizza in less than two minutes.

After the discussion we will go to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

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